12 Different Types of Travel Bags

A stack of various travel bags by the airport window.

People are traveling more than ever before.  The luggage market value is expected to skyrocket from 16 billion In 2020 to 23.1 billion dollars in 2025. With the availability of many different types of travel bags, you can be sure to add some organization and convenience when traveling.

That could mean packing a rolling suitcase, a small bucket bag, or simply rolling a backpack depending on your traveling needs.

The travel bag you choose should fit your desired style, weight, and convenience. With so many varieties to choose from, choosing a travel bag that will allow you to travel freely without worrying about your valuables is a critical exercise.

If you’re having difficulty finding the right travel bag, here is a list of 12 different bags for different travel needs.

Table of Contents

1. Travel Backpack

A woman with a travel backpack waiting for the train.

Also known as a travel pack, the travel backpack is an extremely popular travel bag among backpackers. This hiking backpack has a similar structure to the regular rucksack only that it has extra features such as hip belts, zip shoulder straps, and different compartments to keep your valuables.

Suitable for?

Backpackers, campers, and road trip enthusiasts who are looking to travel light on areas without roads. Also great for children, so they don’t strain their hands.

Pros

  • Easy to carry, especially when climbing hills and stairs.
  • Even distribution of weight on both shoulders makes them comfortable all through.

Cons

  • It can strain your back which may affect your posture if you carry too much load.
  • If the shoulder straps are not padded, you may experience inflammation and discomfort, especially if the bag is too heavy.

2. Wheeled Backpack

A man with a wheeled backpack on the speedwalk.

The wheeled backpack or rolling backpack is an excellent option for backpackers with heavy luggage. Wheeled backpacks are generally spacious and can carry more items than the regular backpack as they are portable.

This traveling bag is more preferred for its versatility. It is fitted with wheels and shoulder straps for different terrains. You can drag them at the airport and carry them when maneuvering through thick crowds.

Suitable for?

Travelers going far but not for too long, who may need to use airports, roads, and other areas to access their traveling destinations.

Pros

  • Travelers can carry or drag the bag comfortably regardless of where they are.
  • They are made of more rigid materials to enhance durability.

Cons

  • Wheeled backpacks can be uncomfortable to carry with your back, especially on rough roads or places you cannot drag them as they’re heavier and bigger from the added wheels and frame.

3. Wheeled Luggage bag/Suitcase

A close look at various wheeled bags and suitcases.

The wheeled luggage bag or roller bag is the softside luggage type and one of the most traditional forms of luggage. The rolling luggage has two or four wheels on the lower side and is pulled by a retractable top handle. The most common type of wheeled luggage bag is made of ballistic nylon. They are usually available in all sizes and are easy to pull around concrete and other flat areas.

Suitable for?

Travelers planning to shop and bring things home or those who have a lot of things to pack, especially clothes, and don’t want to strain their arms carrying them around.

Pros

  • They come in different sizes, including small luggage bags for children.
  • They are pretty durable as they are designed for basic traveling

Cons

  • Pulling a heavy bag behind you puts pressure on your wrists and joints, especially if you are doing it for a long distance.
  • Pulling around rough surfaces is possible but quite a task
  • The wheeled luggage bag can attract baggage fees depending on how heavy it is and the airline you are using.

4. Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels

This is a Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels in blue.

When you want to upgrade your wheeled luggage bag, you will likely land at the hard side luggage bag with spinner wheels. This bag makes traveling more comfortable and convenient as rolling the bag is easy.

Most options allow you to use packing cubes for additional organization.  The surface is made of tough tarpaulin, a combination of nylon and polyester, and ABS plastic. This makes them weather-resistant and durable compared to other travel bags.

Suitable for?

Campers looking to enjoy staying out in the wild for many days while trying to keep their luggage organized and protected from elements.

Pros

  • They come in different sizes and are organized into compartments for keeping different items.
  • They are more durable than other bags as they are made of rigid material.
  • The spinner wheels also make moving on rough roads easier.

Cons

  • Storing them can be hectic as their shape cannot be altered or folded.

5. Duffel Bag / Weekender

A man with a black duffel bag by the subway entrance.

Also known as the duffle bag or weekender bag, the duffel bag is typically a large cylindrical-shaped bag made of canvas or leather. This weekend bag allows you to take everything you need for your weekend getaways, such as toiletries, clothing, and other basic travel essentials. Most bags have straps to help you carry the bag in different ways, such as your back, hands, or shoulders.

Suitable for?

Sports travelers and gym enthusiasts like to bring their sports equipment with them. It is also a great traveling companion for a day or weekend trip.

Pros

  • Can be a perfect gym bag as it’s spacious, stylish, and convenient for people looking to carry big items like sports equipment.
  • They are flexible as they can be carried in different ways. The bag also comes with extra zippered pockets.

Cons

  • Not ideal for lengthy trekking trips as it can put a strain on your hands and shoulders.
  • It can quickly become disorganized, especially if you are using them in public places.

6. Wheeled Duffel Bag

A brown wheeled duffel bag with leather straps.

If you are looking for a portable duffel bag, the wheeled duffel bag may be the perfect choice for you.  It is also referred to as a rolling duffel bag. This bag has the same features as the typical duffel bag, only that it can be bigger and more durable. It also has a distinct feature-spinner wheel that makes it easy to pull as you move.

Suitable for?

Perfect for travelers who enjoy traveling with duffel bags but want the ease of movement.

Pros

  • It can carry large and odd-shaped equipment and gear.
  • They are spacious, stylish, and durable.  If you are traveling with children, you can go for smaller bags.

Cons

  • Storing them can be an issue as they cannot be squeezed or folded up easily.
  • Rolling them up the stairs or rough terrain can be problematic when loaded.

7. Messenger Bag

A man wearing a brown leather messenger bag.

Popularly known as courier bags or shoulder bags, the messenger bag was initially used by messengers to carry documents for delivery. Today, the bag can be used in different ways, including traveling and fashion purses.

They are small, simple bags that can be carried by strapping them across your shoulder.  Sometimes they can be complicated with one big pocket and smaller external pockets for extra items. The complicated type can also be used as a camera bag.

Suitable for?

Travelers who want to carry less bulky items or bikers who want to keep things compact. Just make sure the luggage is at the required level to avoid straining.

Pros

  • Offer easy access to your items because you simply need to swing the bag around and reach for what you want
  • They are more formal than backpacks and ideal for travelers looking to minimize their load.
  • They are acceptable in most professional environments.
  • A messenger bag is also considered safer than most small bags as you only need to hold it tighter in dangerous situations.

Cons

  • It can put a strain on your shoulders if you carry heavy items for too long as they don’t distribute weight evenly.

8. Travel Tote

A woman carrying a travel tote with journey written on it.

A travel tote bag is a type of shoulder bag with two parallel straps on both sides used mainly by women, but the market now includes unisex varieties. The tote bag has not been on the list of travel bags until recently when it was added to the small travel bag category.  Travel totes can be carried with one shoulder or around your neck. 

Suitable for?

Fashion travelers looking to take short trips without compromising their fashion. The traveling bag can also be used by light packers or anyone taking a day trip.

Pros

  • Best for fashion enthusiasts as they can easily complement any style.
  • It has enough space to carry most of your necessities, such as a change of clothes, sunscreen, snacks, wallet, and cell phone.

Cons

  • A travel tote doesn’t have an internal organization. You end up wasting a lot of time finding stuff at the airport or other public areas.
  • Not ideal for carrying large un-foldable items like shoes.

9. Travel Laptop Bag/Laptop Case

A close look at a woman with a laptop bag.

Business, conference attendees, and most commercial and recreational travelers can go for laptop bags to keep laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices that will be needed in their destinations.

It is a simple bag with a single shoulder strap, but you can still find others with multiple straps. The back can keep your devices safe and scratch-free and comes with a zippered inner compartment for your gadgets and an extra interior compartment for your computer accessories.

Suitable for?

Travelers who need a dedicated laptop compartment.

Pros

  • They make traveling with gadgets easy and organized
  • They are portable, which means you can carry everything you need and stop by any coffee shop to get your tasks done.

Cons

  • It is a small bag which means extra luggage, especially if you need to bring a rolling suitcase along.

10. Garment Bag

Three garment bags on the wooden floor.

From its name, a garment bag is typically used to transport nice clothing, dresses, jackets, and suits to avoid getting them dusty, smelly, dirty, or wrinkled. This traveling bag can be a great option if you want to travel in style, or you probably won’t have enough time to wash or iron your clothes due to your busy travel or business schedule.

Suitable for?

Fashion travelers, business travelers, and event managers planning events like weddings. It is also ideal for travelers who are looking to protect their finer clothing from dirt or wrinkles.

Pros

  • Despite the length of your journey, the garment bag keeps your clothes in the same condition.
  • It also comes with a shoe and bag compartment to complete different looks.
  • It’s more convenient to carry the garment bag instead of a smaller bag with an iron box, especially for a traveler dealing with many clothes.

Cons

  • They’re not the easiest to carry around.
  • They’re not always long enough for long dresses and coats.
  • Some airlines don’t allow garment bags

11. Bucket bag

A woman with a black leather hobo bucket bag.

The bucket bag gained its name from the bucket shape it takes once full. It is similar to the hobo bag but roomier inside with an open top and a wide, flat, oval, or round bottom. This type of traveling bag can sit upright without toppling over due to its shape.

The market offers different designs and sizes to suit individual travel needs. These bags can also be carried as backpacks or as tote bags, depending on the design. The average bag is big enough to fit all your essentials, including clothes, a few toiletries, and your phone.

Suitable for?

Tote back fanatics and travelers looking to travel with minimal luggage. It is also a better alternative for backpackers with fewer items to carry or those who want some change.

Pros

  • They feature a drawstring closure which makes it easy to open, get what you want, and close.
  • They are made of different materials for durability, such as leather.

Cons

  • The drawstring can open unintentionally without your knowledge, leading to loss of items.
  • Not easy to stay organized
  • You might lose small items like coins, flash disks, and pins when you bend over or mistakenly put the bag upside down if the drawstrings are not tightly drawn.

12. Dopp Kit

This is a close look at a pink dopp kit with leather straps.

The Dopp Kit is a large soft pouch similar to a saddle bag with a single open pocket that can be used to keep your toiletries. The interior may contain other small compartments to keep your toothbrush, shampoo, or soap.

Suitable for?

Any type of traveler. You will always need toiletries to maintain personal hygiene even as you travel. The bag helps keep them organized.

Pros

  • It helps you look more stylish and organized than wrapping your toiletries in a polythene bag or throwing them haphazardly next to your clothes.

Cons

  • When opened suddenly, the Dopp Kit can spill contents, which can  easily mess your trip
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